Buddha of Suburbia / Hanif Kureishi | Skillshare Projects



Buddha of Suburbia / Hanif Kureishi

update 20 March: definitely happier with the brighter colours, thanks for the feedback!

still no 100% sure about the colours, may play around with it a bit more...


I played around with two colourways for this, one is more traditionally associated with India and the 70s and the other one with red, white and blue, drawing from the Union Jack. Not sure which one I prefer,  I think the red white and blue might be a bit more unexpected and the greens and oranges a little too obvious…

And I just realised that it should of course say "THE" Buddha of Suburbia…

The shape of the K is based on the ultra bold weight of Gil Sans... it's not super obvious, but thought it was a nice way to reference the British elements of the book.


This book deals with contrasts, with the main character, Karim, torn between his English and Indian identities. His father is a bureaucrat by day and celebrated as an exotic guru by the suburban housewives at night. His cousin Jamilia is a radical feminist, that agrees to an arranged marriage. The book covers the allure of the exotic, embodied by Karim's lusting after Charlie, a David Bowie-esque musician, as viewed from the dull surroundings of British suburbia.

For this cover I wanted something that reflects both the time period (the 70s) as well as this contrast between the exotic and the mundane)

My initial sketches attempted to show this contrast within the letterform itself, but it never really looked right, so the second version combines a plain looking K with elements of a paisley design.

Paisley patterns originated in Persia & Asia and were later popularised in the West after being imported by the East India Company... it had a resurgance in popularity in the 1970s as people became interested in Indian spirituality... a perfect fit for this story.


"My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost. I am often considered to be a funny kind of Englishman, a new breed as it were, having emerged from two old histories. But I don’t care – Englishman I am (though not proud of it), from the South London suburbs and going somewhere."

Karim lives with his English mother and Indian father in the South London suburbs. This novel looks at life growing up in England in the 1970s, torn between two cultures, not fully English and not fully Indian. An escape from the suburbs into the city and a comic novel about growing up and race relations.


Please sign in or sign up to comment.